Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out next week and it's set to be the film that properly kicks the multiverse phase of the MCU into action. At the minute it feels like a different cameo is announced or rumoured every day, it's starting to look like Doctor Strange himself will only have a supporting role in his own movie. Now you might be wondering exactly who will be making appearances and that's where I come in, I'm going to be taking a bunch of characters that are rumoured to appear and ranking them out of ten on how likely it is that they actually are in it. I won't be including any characters that we've already seen in the trailer so Professor X and Captain Carter won't be on the list. Let's get into it.
Tom Cruise Iron Man variant - 8
It's been rumoured for a very long time that Tom Cruise would appear as the Superior Iron Man on the illuminati. This might seem a bit random but Tom Cruise was actually very close to playing Iron Man but creative differences (he reportedly wanted the mask to show his face at all times) meant that it never happened. There was a shot of Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel that looked suspiciously similar to Superior Iron Man (in fact practically identical) in the first trailers but people quickly worked out who it was. What I will say is that Marvel has been known to swap out characters in a number of trailers so I wouldn't be surprised if that shot of Rambeau was actually Superior Iron Man after all, why else would they make it so ambiguous? Furthermore the appearance of the Ultron bots with a different design in the Illuminati's chambers heavily suggests the presence of a Tony Stark (or a Hank Pym but that's very unlikely) so all signs suggest that this is one cameo that we will be getting. Having said that, Tom Cruise does have a number of films that are currently in production so it wouldn't surprise me if scheduling conflicts prevented this one from happening.
Peter 2 returns - 6
Will Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi be reunited? That's the rumour. To me it feels a bit too good to be true and I feel that it might not be the right move to confine that to just a cameo. There are lots of rumours circling around the internet about Maguire's Spider-man and how he might be involved in the story (I won't go into it here just in case they happen to be true) but I'm not convinced. I do think that another Raimi Spider-Man movie is on the cards, I just don't think this is how they'll do it. I've still given this one a six though because it is completely plausible and audiences loved his appearance in No Way Home (even if that was a slightly more substantial role). I'd love it if this one happened and there are extremely obvious reasons that it might but I wouldn't bet on it.
John Krasinski Mr Fantastic variant - 50/50*
This is another one that fans have been begging for for years. John Krasinski is overwhelmingly the most popular choice for Mr Fantastic in the MCU and as a founder of the illuminati this would be the obvious film to introduce him in. The issue with this one is that I'm not so sure that it would make sense to introduce Mr Fantastic into the MCU as a fully established illuminati founder if you're using a new actor as there is a very good chance that it will confuse casual audience members when the Fantastic 4 film hits cinemas as it will inevitably be a different version of the character who has not yet reached this point. It's not impossible, I quite like the idea of having John Krasinski appearing as a ridiculously overpowered Mr Fantastic only to be reduced back to a regular Reed Richards later down the line, but it would have to be made extremely clear that the character we see in Doctor Strange is a different character to the one we'll see in Fantastic Four. *I have given this one a 50/50 as I'm nearly 100% sure that Mr Fantastic will appear but I'm just not sure which version.
Ioan Gruffudd as Mr Fantastic - 50/50
This would make much more sense to me and would be much easier for the audience to understand too. It makes more sense to bring back Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards and use him as the Illuminati founding version of the character. It would not only be a very cool way to pay homage to the slightly underrated Fantastic Four movies, it would also still allow you to use John Krasinski as a completely new version of the charcter later on. It would also be in keeping with those films, the Reed Richards we saw in 2005 absolutely seems like he would be both interested in and capable of exploring the multiverse so seeing him as a founder of the illuminati would be a very nice continuation.
Deadpool - maybe in an end credits scene
I've abandoned the rating system, it's no longer a rating out of ten. I couldn't work out what I would give this rumour. We know Deadpool is coming to the MCU, as are the other mutants, we just don't know how. This doesn't feel like the right movie to do it tonally or otherwise. Not only is Deadpool not overly suited to the somewhat family friendly sector of the MCU that Doctor Strange occupies, he also wouldn't really offer much in a fight for the multiverse. However, this movie serves as the perfect opportunity to introduce any pre established characters from the Fox universe without having to bring everyone. For example, Patrick Stewart's Professor X is making the jump without the rest of his mutants as the X-Men very likely to be recast for their MCU outings and the nature of the Multiverse allows this to happen, as it would allow Deadpool's debut. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I don't think he will appear in the movie but I can also absolutely imagine an end credit scene being used to bring Wade Wilson to the MCU.
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze - 1
We've returned to the rating system and it's at this point that I'm going to plug the podcast. In this week's episode we spoke in depth about Nic Cage's Ghost Rider and the possibility of his return and while it's absolutely something I can see happening, I don't think this is how it will happen. If you want to know how I would want it to happen you'll have to click the link above and download the episode, but I will tell you why I don't think it will happen here. Nicolas Cage recently was asked whether he would return as Johnny Blaze and said "I would really need to see what they had in mind before answering that." The door is clearly not closed on it but I don't think that it will happen now. I can totally see a fly-by cameo of the character in Ghost Rider form but I don't think Cage himself will make an appearance.
Ben Affleck back as Daredevil - 0
I'm going to be brief about this one. Affleck himself has denied this one. The rumour goes that he was approached but turned it down. You can understand why he might not want to return, I mean look at that leather suit.
Anson Mount as Black Bolt - 8
Everyone loved the Inhumans TV show and it broke every possible viewership record. Wait, that's not quite right. Everyone hated Inhumans and it was watched by about four people. That sounds a bit more accurate. Despite Inhumans' very poor reception people were at least generally positive about Anson Mount as Black Bolt. Black Bolt could appear as a founder of the Illuminati which would mean that there is a massive chance that Anson Mount could get a second shot at the fan favourite character. Personally I would love to see Black Bolt appear and it's only fair that Mount gets his chance to shine in a legitimately good film rather than a majorly subpar TV show. Whether or not this opportunity would open the door to a soft reboot of the Inhumans remains to be seen, but it would be a huge missed opportunity if they didn't at least consider it.
There is a very good chance that at least one of these characters will make the cut, in fact it wouldn't surprise me if they all did somehow. I could have kept going with this list but I decided to include only the most popular fancasts and rumours because there are way too many potential cameos to do them all. As with every major comic book movie, you'll be able to read the review for Doctor Strange 2 here as soon as it goes out, in the meantime why not check out some of the suggested articles below or the podcast?